Thiruvananthapuram: Outpatient services in private hospitals were badly hit across the state following the 12-hour strike called by IMA against the implementation of the new National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill.
Hundreds of doctors across the state boycotted OP wings. However, emergency services, in-patient services, intensive care units, labor room and emergency surgery were exempted from the strike.
IMA Medical Student Network, KGMOA and KGMCTA also participated in the protest. Over 3,000 doctors owing allegiance to Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) wore black badges to express solidarity with the strike.
The IMA state leadership claimed that its strike call had received widespread support from the doctors. The association leadership said the agitation would be intensified in the coming days.
“The IMA will intensify its agitation if the government tries to push the anti democratic, anti federal NMC bill which will promote corruption. We want the government to reconsider the current bill. We appeal to the Prime Minister to intervene to protect the interests of the marginalised and under privileged sections of the society,” IMA said.
IMA pointed out that 50 per cent of seats in the private medical colleges will go to the highest bidder. Besides, the cost of medical education in the country will escalate manifold, and will become unaffordable to even the upper middle classes.
Dr A. Marthanda Pillai, Action committee chairman said, “NMC will function as an extended government department. Autonomy of regulation is the right of medical profession. Allowing bureaucrats and non medical persons to trample upon the regulation of medical education and practice is unthinkable.”
Though the existing MCI mainly plays the role of a watchdog, from time to time it has opposed and intervened in government decisions to maintain high standards of medical education. But the proposed commission looked more like another wing of the government.
IMA has made it clear that two issues are non-negotiable - bridge course to allow Indian System of Medicine (ISM) doctors to practice modern medicine and the exit test after MBBS course.
It has also raised objections to various clauses of the NMC Bill which are anti-poor and aimed at legalising corruption and quackery.
Separate registration for ISM doctors was unacceptable. The exit test which is totally unfair to the students cannot be agreed upon under any circumstances. The IMA has also opposed the lack of elected representatives in the proposed commission which it says will seriously jeopardise the autonomy of the regulatory body.
There are clauses which heavily favour managements. For instance, the Bill has proposed just one inspection within five years and there will be no annual inspections to check the standard of education, infrastructure and other facilities. They are free to conduct inspections even four years after the start of the medical college.
This means the students will have to study in sub-standard conditions till then. Another clause allowed managements to increase the number of seats for under graduate and post graduate courses....